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Ayoon Wa Azan (O Brothers, Let Them Say Whatever They Want).

On the first week following the stepping down of former President Hosni Mubarak on 18-02-2011, all the political movements did not want to believe their eyes as the political Islam took over the liberation platform thus pushing away all the other movements, which did not want to believe back then that this scene is an indicator to the upcoming politics of monopolization and alienation.

I am not the one who wrote the above statement. It is rather a part of an op-ed under the headline, "The Revolution of SuspicionC*January 25: from Bequeathal to the Muslim Brotherhood's Rule." The piece was written by Mr. Mohammad Abdel Hadi Allam, the then-Chief Editor of the Al-Ahram, and was published on the fifth of that month. On the tenth of the same month, Allam was replaced by Mr. Abdel Nasser Salama as Chief Editor since the Muslim Brotherhood selected allies or sympathizers for the top posts of the official media. They also launched a war against their adversaries as shown by the shutting down of the media city on October 6 and the attacks against the journalists there. In addition, lawsuits were filed against journalists for charges of insulting the president. Does this represent a return to the LE se-Majeste law in Egypt?

I had written, on the fifteenth of this month, a piece on the window of steel that has been set up in Egypt following the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood group in the presidency and the majority of the parliament. Dr. Essam el-Eryan, the Vice President of the Freedom and Justice Party, contacted me, objected to what I wrote, and said that I am only listening to one party.

My relationship with Dr. Essam is old, direct and good. I once nominated him for president of Egypt. I had a long meeting with him on the evening of the presidential elections and I carried his point of view on this matter. Following the elections of the People's Assembly back in 2010, and prior to the Tunisian and Egyptian events, I wrote twice that the outcomes cannot be right if the Muslim Brotherhood does not win any seats. I called on President Mubarak to cancel the elections at the right time and to conduct new elections. Of course, the president did not listen to me. Then, and as Mubarak was still in power, I wrote again that the 2010 elections were falsified.

I try my best to be objective. There is no point in defending the MB now that they are in a power position. Indeed, they enjoy a major popularity that was reflected in the outcomes of the last free elections. Thus, I referred to my defense of them when they were persecuted in the opposition.

The above doesn't mean that the MB do not have a major problem with the Egyptian media. They cannot bear any criticism or opposition. I am writing this while looking at two American reports on the subjects under the headlines, "Egypt's Islamist Leaders Accused of Stifling Media" and "Muslim Brotherhood Crucifies Opponents."

This is not necessarily true. However, it does reflect a general feeling in our region and the rest of the world concerning the group's dealing with the media. This means that President Mohammad Morsi and the Egyptian government need to take clear measures to prove that the MB did not fight off a dictatorship in order to replace it with another one.

Through his phone call with me, Dr. Essam al-Aryan asserted that the situation of the army, police, and security forces will be much better than the past thirty years. He added that the MB do not want to exclude anyone or to accuse anyone of treason. He also said that the political environment is inexistent and needs to be built; and that the MB are doing their best to build a society that can fit everybody. To that I say, God willing. Dr. Essam also said that Egypt is not Omar Suleiman and Ahmad Shafiq and that those who want to leave Egypt were part of the corruption and they no longer are benefitting from that.

I asked the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the People's Assembly to send me an email where he responds to the issues and queries I raised in my previous piece. I insist that there is no fear in releasing the media freedom. Indeed, the good use of this freedom is warranted while the ill use will backfire on its author and will reveal their radicalism and ignorance of the profession's rules.

Quoting American President Calvin Coolidge, "One does not apologize for something that one did not say." In this context, this translates into that a journalist who says irresponsible things without trying to learn the truth will not be condemning Mohammad Morsi or Hesham Qandil, but his own self. O Brothers, let them say whatever they want as they will be providing the best pieces of evidence against their own selves.






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Publication:Dar Al Hayat, International ed. (Beirut, Lebanon)
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:7EGYP
Date:Aug 22, 2012
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